What Every RVer Needs in Their Basic Tool Kit

25 tools you need on hand for your RV

For the most part, a basic RV tool kit is what every RVer needs. And when I say basic, I really do mean BASIC—the parts and tools you’ll most likely actually USE at some point.

Why You Need an RV Tool Kit?

Driving an RV down the road is frequently compared to owning a home that goes through a continuous earthquake and hurricane at the same time. Because of this, things frequently go wrong and need to be repaired. Whether you are handy or not (and I’m not), you will find it helpful to have a set of tools for simple fixes or even major repairs. Often a problem can at least be patched up to prevent further damage until a proper fix can be made.

What is an RV Tool Kit?

An RV tool kit is a collection of standard tools and items to assist with RV repairs and maintenance. Different situations call for various tools, so having an array of commonly used items can be handy.

Your RV set-up may require certain tools © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tool Kit Basics

Ready to hit the road? Not so fast! Let’s take a moment to inventory that tool kit of yours. I’ve rounded up a list of tools you want in your tool kit before you hit the road. Unnecessary tools waste space and add weight to your RV. You don’t want to carry around tools you’ll never use–and you certainly don’t want to be without the right tools when you need them most! Let’s look at some tools I think anyone should have in their RV tool kit. Cheers to a fun (and prepared) RV adventure!

Heavy-duty work gloves

Your hands can take a beating while RVing. A pair of heavy-duty work gloves can protect your hands when working on odd jobs or doing repairs. They can also add grip when needed. 

Multi-tool

Put fixing power in your pocket with multi-tools including pull-out knives, screwdrivers, scissors, bottle opener, and pliers from top brands like Leatherman, Victorinox, Gerber, and Outbound. Multi-tools come in handy in all situations so it’s never a bad idea to have one—even just to open a bottle of wine in a pinch.

Sewer hose and connection to sewer outlet © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Set of screwdrivers

Your RV is going to have all different shapes and sizes of screws. If you could pick just one tool to have, it’s a screwdriver. But, you’ll need to make sure you’ve either got a range of screwdrivers or a multi-bit screwdriver to save space. From vehicle-related issues to cosmetic things like decorating or adjusting your finishings, a range of screwdrivers will come in handy.

Silicone spray lubricant

Silicone spray stops squeaks but does not attract dirt.

Channellocks

These will come in handy if you ever find yourself having to change the hitch ball on your tow hitch. In combination with the right socket wrench set, they can also help you make adjustments to other hitch equipment that needs to be tightened to the right specs for safe towing.

Hex Key Allen wrench set

Hexagonal screws are used in all sorts of products including tables and bicycles. To loosen or tighten these screws, you’ll need a special type of wrench called an Allen wrench or hex wrench. These wrenches usually come in a set with several sizes and feature different arm lengths, end types, and storage cases.

Crescent adjustable wrench

No matter how many wrench sizes you already have, an adjustable wrench is a must. Sometimes, it’s simply impossible to find the perfect wrench size for the nut you’re trying to loosen. This is where your adjustable wrench will keep you from damaging the nut or bolt and putting yourself in an even deeper hole.

Electric Management System including surge protection © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

LED flashlights

Flashlights aren’t just great for taking on night hikes but also for peering into your RV’s dark spaces. This tool can provide light when working in cabinets or under your rig. Have one designated to your tools and several others in the different location in the interior of your rig as well as your tow/tow vehicle. Many people like LED headlamps or magnetic LED lights to keep their hands free to work. Naturally, you’ll want a pack of batteries, too.

Assorted fuses

Vehicle fuses can blow at any time so it’s a good idea to keep extras around. We like to travel with a variety of sizes. But remember—something caused it to blow in the first place. Address the original issue as soon as you can. 

Tire pressure gauge

Having a tire pressure gauge is a huge must. Checking tire pressures before each travel day should be an RV checklist items. Not all tire pressure gauges are equal. Be sure to carry a heavy duty tire gauge that works for 120 psi or higher.

Ladder

If you have an especially tall rig, consider a telescoping ladder so it can be easily tucked away. From sorting out issues with your awning to cleaning debris off the roof or checking for issues, it’s never a mistake to have a way to get up high safely.

All the tape

As is the case with any tool kit, you’ve got to have duct tape. From temporarily fixing leaks and other on-the-go repairs, you’ll be so happy you have it. On top of that, you’ll want to pack Rhino tape and electrical tape so you can deal with any issues that arise. Tape could be your best friend in a pinch, so you can never have too many options in your back pocket.

Zip ties

In the same vein, you might find yourself in a pinch and in need of an easy and creative fix. Especially when it comes to RV travel, you want to be sure everything is secured in place. Zip ties (and tape) are some of the best things to keep on hand.

Dawn Dish Soap © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tape measure

Self-explanatory! We use ours endlessly. You never know when you will need to measure something in the RV. A 25-foot tape measure should be more than long enough for most situations. Knowing if an item will fit before buying it can save you many dollars and headaches.

Bungee cords

There’s a laundry list of applications for which bungee cords will help you: keeping water containers upright in your truck bed, securing heavy tools so they don’t slide around, securing cupboard doors, expanding your carrying capacity by allowing you to strap camping gear to your roof rack. I recommend having a variety of different lengths and thicknesses so that you have the right bungee cord for the job.

First aid kit

No one should leave home without a first aid kit especially when they’re going on an extended adventure. This is why first aid kits are a necessity in every RV. First aid kits include the essentials such as bandaids, antiseptic wipes, gloves, swabs, scissors, iodine pads, and an emergency blanket. Some first aid kits come with a first aid guide.

Reversible mat

Much of the RV experience is spent relaxing outside the rig, perhaps under an awning but certainly on the ground alongside the RV. A mat which can be used to provide some underfoot protection goes a long way toward making the experience that much more comfortable.

Disposable vinyl gloves © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Utility knife

A utility knife is a fantastic tool to have in your tool kit. It cuts with a removable razor blade, so the edge is both incredibly sharp and very disposable. That means this type of knife is ideal for all of the grunt-work cutting jobs that are too difficult for scissors and too dulling and damaging for a nice pocket knife.

Pliars

Any good set of pliers will do but you’ll definitely need them in your RV tool kit. Needle nose pliers are perfect for harder-to-reach applications and great for precisely pinching connectors when finishing electrical repairs.

Vice grips

Another variation of pliers, locking vise grips allow you to maintain a better grip without constantly squeezing with your maximum strength. They’re also useful for holding things in place temporarily.

Hammer

A claw hammer is always good tool to have available. In addition to using it as a hammer, you can use it to bend things back into shape, knock something loose, or use the claw as a crow bar to pry something apart.

Water pressure regulator © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Water pressure regulator

Since water pressures vary depending on where you’re camping, a pressure regulator is a small but vital addition to your RV tool kit for protecting your RV water system.

Folding step stool

Whether you’re 5 feet 2 inches or 6 feet 2 inches, a step stool is a handy accessory to have in your RV. They help you reach higher storage areas and can provide an extra step up into your rig.

Camp chairs

There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting around a campfire in the middle of nowhere but it’s a little hard to do that if you don’t have anything to sit on. Folding camp chairs are compact, comfortable, easily stored. 

Hammock

Not really a tool but hammocks bring some comfiness to the outdoor space. When you arrive at that epic campsite you can set up a cozy reading or napping nook in the trees.

Jack pads © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What’s in Your RV Tool Kit? 

As you can see, there are many tools that you’ll find helpful in your RV tool kit. Most don’t take up much room but you’ll be glad you have them. Having the appropriate tools can help reduce anxiety and stress, especially in emergencies. 

Conclusion

Whether you’re a weekend RVer, a snowbird, or a full-timer, carrying an RV tool kit is important. But you don’t need to break the bank for the basics. Many of the tools and items noted in this article may be things you have on hand. If you keep them together in a versatile tool kit, you can move them into the RV whenever you travel. Or better yet—simply reach for your RV tool kit when you need to do a project at home.

Worth Pondering…

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

—Benjamin Franklin

23 Must-Have Items for your RV Roadside Emergency Kit

This list of 23 emergency preparedness items that every RV must have will make sure that you’re set up for success on the road

Anyone who takes a road trip of any distance or duration should be prepared for potential roadside emergencies. But, RVers who tend to travel roads unknown with some frequency while carrying heavy loads in their home-on-wheels need to be well prepared for unexpected events that can occur based on weather, tire blow-outs, and other breakdowns. And they can (and often do!) happen in the most remote areas. This is why having an RV roadside emergency kit is so important.

In today’s post, I’m giving you 23 ideas of things to carry in your RV roadside emergency kit.

A well-equipped roadside emergency kit can save a call for roadside assistance © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What do I mean by RV Roadside Emergency Kit?

To me, an RV roadside emergency kit contains items that one might find a use for in the event of a roadside emergency. The emergency could be anything that leaves you stranded on the side of the road (or anywhere, really) such as a tire blow-out, a mechanical breakdown, a weather event, mudslide, fire, illness—anything that impedes your ability to continue traveling down the road to your destination.

Is a fully stocked roadside emergency kit on board? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What are some of the most important things to have in an RV Roadside Emergency Kit?

I’ll preface my list of 23 items by saying that this list is likely to contain numerous items that you already carry in your RV when you travel. That’s great—if you’ve already have the item onboard, check it off your list! You’ll have it when you need it.

However, if you don’t, give some serious thought to whether or not you feel the item belongs in your RV roadside emergency kit.

This list doesn’t cover all potential situations but it’s a list of 23 items that I feel are important to have for emergencies.

1. Road reflectors

A good set of road reflectors is an inexpensive but very important piece of any RV roadside emergency kit. Reflectors are designed to make sure you’re seen along the side of the road before someone is on top of you.

Set your road reflectors a distance ahead of and behind your rig to give oncoming traffic advance warning of your presence. You’re already having a bad day—don’t make it worse!

2. Tools

A basic tool kit is important for every RVer to carry. Your tool kit is likely to already contain the tools that you find most useful and like the rest of us, you probably add to that tool kit from time to time as you complete new repairs and projects. If you’ve been looking to compile your tool kit, you’ll find some ideas in my post, The RV Tool Kit Every RVer Needs

However, the  bare minimum that should be in every RV roadside emergency kit (and every vehicle, for that matter) is a good, durable multi-tool with some basic tools.

What’s in your roadside assistance kit?© Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. First-aid kit

You can create your own first-aid kit or buy a pre-made kit but having a first-aid kit on board your RV is an absolute MUST.

Contents of a first-aid kit should include adhesive tape, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic solution or towelettes, bandages, calamine lotion, cotton balls and cotton-tipped swabs, gauze pads and roller gauze in assorted sizes, first aid manual, petroleum jelly or other lubricant, safety pins in assorted sizes, scissors and tweezers, and sterile eyewash.

Familiarize yourself with the items in the first aid kit and know how to properly use them. Check your first-aid kits regularly, at least every three months, to replace supplies that have expired.

The Mayo Clinic is an excellent source for first aid information to help you during a medical emergency.

If you travel with pets, pet first aid manuals are also available.

4. Work gloves

A strong pair of work gloves is an important piece of any RV roadside emergency kit to help protect your hands during any emergency mechanical work or tire changing, etc. The last thing anyone needs when they’re stranded roadside is an injury that makes the emergency even more urgent!

A quality pair of work gloves with a good grip will serve you in an endless array of circumstances.

You’ll drive with confidence having a roadside emergency kit on board © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. ​​Spare fuses

A variety of extra fuses that can replace any that have burned out in your RV is an important part of an RV roadside emergency kit.

Depending on which fuse is blown, you could be disabled in some fashion. Being able to replace a blown fuse right there on the spot can be the difference between a very minor headache and a migraine.

6. Air compressor

An air compressor that you can use wherever you are is a fantastic item for any roadside emergency kit.

7. Slime

Also in the tire emergency category, a couple of cans of Slime can repair a punctured tire long enough to get you to a service station where you can deal with the issue.

There are also tire repair kits available but the Slime is more user-friendly and gets the job done.

I don’t recommend using Slime every time your tire goes flat but if you don’t have a roadside assistance plan or you’re so far out in the boonies that they won’t come to help you, the Slime will get you rolling to someplace you can get a more permanent fix.

What’s in your roadside emergency kit? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. Flashlights and headlamps

Chances are good that you’ve already got some good quality flashlights and headlamps onboard the rig but they’re extremely important so we’re including them on this list.

A good flashlight is handy if you’re stranded on a dark roadside, if you need to walk any distance in the dark, and for any work you may try to do on the rig yourself in the dark or in other poor lighting conditions.

Headlamps are fantastic flashlights that leave your hands free for working or carrying items. You’d be amazed at the number of times you’ll pull out a good headlamp when doing a repair or a DIY project.

So…flashlights…whether they’re in your hands or on your head—these are important items for your RV roadside emergency kit!

9. Portable power bank

Having a portable power bank that’s always charged and ready to go is an important asset to any roadside emergency kit.

A fully charged portable battery bank ensures that if your phone runs out of juice, you’ve got a handy way to power it whether you’re walking a distance for help or you have no power available for some other reason.

It’s also important to note that many smartphones/cell phones lose power in the cold. So, if you’re walking in cold weather and are trying to get help using your phone, it can go dead much faster than you’d expect and it won’t reboot until it warms up. This won’t happen if it’s connected to a portable power bank.

10. Jumper cables

No one likes having to jump-start a battery but the day will probably come when you have to. Aside from having the best RV battery under your hood, make sure that you have a set of decent jumper cables. You don’t want to be that person who asks someone for a jump and if they have jumper cables.

Don’t be caught without this inexpensive essential.

What’s in your roadside emergency kit? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

11. Jump start

You may carry jumper cables in your rig’s basement but a battery jump-start box can get you out of trouble even if you’re in some very tight quarters or if there’s no one around with a vehicle capable of giving you a jump.

These compact boxes usually have an integrated flashlight so you can see to connect it properly and they do an amazing job of jumping even the biggest rigs. They’re also great for charging devices and usually have a USB port or two handy for just this purpose.

12. Reflective vest

If you have to walk in the dark or you’re broken down in traffic and you need to alert oncoming vehicles (by laying out your reflective triangles noted above!) or if you need to direct traffic around an accident, you’ll want to have a reflective vest.

A package of two for two travelers is a great idea so that you’re both equipped to be seen, day or night.

13. Fire extinguishers

This one needs no explanation. If you don’t already have at least one fire extinguisher in your RV, get one TODAY. Depending on the size of your rig, you may want to keep one accessible at the front and a second at the rear or one inside the rig and one in a bay, accessible from the outside.

Fire extinguishers come in various sizes, including small cans without hoses. No matter what, you need to carry a good quality fire extinguisher in your rig because you never know when you’ll need to extinguish a blaze quickly whether in your galley kitchen or during a roadside emergency.

What’s in your roadside emergency kit? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

14. Safety hammer

Safety hammers allow us to break a window in the event of certain emergency situations. You could use the hammer to break out a window of your own rig in an emergency or to get to someone else who’s been involved in an accident you encounter in your travels.

This safety/emergency hammer has an integrated knife for cutting a seat belt off of someone who needs extrication from the belt to escape the vehicle.

15. Air horn

Air horns are often overlooked as an emergency kit item but they can be extremely helpful in an emergency situation. Not only would an air horn allow you to call attention to yourself if you need help, but if you’ve had an accident that has left your rig precariously positioned in the roadway and you need to alert oncoming traffic, an air horn can be just the item you need while waiting for emergency services to arrive.

16. Electrical tape

There are many uses for electrical tape. But, one example is your rig breaking down on the side of the road, leaving you stranded. You pop the hood and look around, and find that a rodent has apparently set up shop in your engine compartment at some point and has chewed on some wires that are deliciously encased. You use your electrical tape to wrap a section of wire (if you’re lucky), start up the rig, and drive it to the nearest service station.

There are a lot of reasons why electrical tape belongs in your RV roadside emergency kit. Toss some in there today.

17. Collapsible shovel

If your rig gets stuck in sand, mud, or snow, having a small shovel on board can be very helpful.

The ability to dig your self out of a sticky situation is important. A small shovel—especially one that’s collapsible for compact storage—is a great thing to have on hand. (And if you happen to have something like kitty litter on board, don’t be afraid to use that for traction!)

What’s in your roadside emergency kit? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

18. Antihistamine

If you’ve got severe allergies to ANYTHING (nuts, bees, etc.), you should be carrying a prescription epinephrine pen (or Epipen) in your emergency kit.

Even if you don’t have severe allergies, EVERY emergency kit should contain Benadryl or the generic form of diphenhydramine in case anyone on board the RV has an allergic reaction to something.

This antihistamine is inexpensive and everyone should have some on hand because severe allergic reactions can’t wait for a trip to a store (if you can find one open) and if the reaction occurs when your RV is broken down on the side of the road, you’ll have no way to obtain the simple drug that could be the difference between life and death. Always carry antihistamine.

19. Emergency food and water

All roadside emergency kits should contain extra food and water—just in case. You can keep a few gallons of emergency water onboard your RV (accessible from the outside if possible) and you should also have some non-perishable foods on hand.

Specific foods are a matter of personal preference but they should be nutrient-dense and able to be stored in the vehicle or RV even in heat/cold. Store them in a solid container that isn’t accessible to rodents!

Many people keep high-protein bars, organic jerky, or a certain amount of freeze-dried foods onboard at all times.

20. Wheel chocks

If you get stuck or become involved in an accident, your RV may be perilously positioned on an incline or a decline. In an emergency, wheel chocks can be an important part of your kit.

You most likely have some wheel chocks for the purpose of leveling your RV, but if you don’t, a set of these are highly advisable and could be very useful in an emergency.

Ice scraper and snow brush for snowy conditions © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

21. Ice scraper/snow brush

“But we don’t travel where it’s icy or snowy.” We’ve heard that one before! An RV emergency kit means being prepared and a combination snow brush and ice scraper is a good thing to have.

22. Tire pressure gauge

Checking tire pressures before a trip is one of my RV checklist items. Not all tire pressure gauges are equal. If you have large RV tires, your tire pressure could be well over 100 psi.

If you have the room, consider buying an air compressor. These can be invaluable if you have tires with high PSI ratings that most gas station pumps won’t work on and for those who like to take their campers off-the-beaten path, the ability to air down and then air your tires backup can be a game changer.

Take good care of your tires © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

23. Duct tape

Duct tape, gorilla tape, Rhino tape, gaff tape…it doesn’t matter. Just have a strong tape onboard!

I’ve seen Duct tape used to fix just about everything. I also carry Rhino tape.

Worth Pondering…

Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.

—Charlie Brown, from Peanuts